Justice Department sues Omarosa Manigault Newman over financial disclosures

The lawsuit accuses Manigault Newman of violating the Ethics in Government Act and seeks a fine of up to $50,000

By Shira Tarlo
Published June 26, 2019 4:18PM (EDT)
Omarosa Manigault (Getty/Drew Angerer)
Omarosa Manigault (Getty/Drew Angerer)

The Justice Department on Tuesday sued Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former contestant on "The Apprentice" who campaigned for President Donald Trump and later worked for him in the White House, alleging she failed to file a required public disclosure report after she left 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, claims Manigault Newman "knowingly and willingly" failed to file the financial disclosure report after corresponding multiple times with attorneys for the White House. It accuses her of violating the Ethics in Government Act (EIGA) by not filing the report, which was required because her salary exceeded $124,406, despite several oral and written reminders from White House ethics lawyers.

The complaint seeks a civil fine of up to $50,000 from Manigault Newman, who served for 11 months as director of communications in the White House Office of Public Liaison before she was fired in December 2017. She allegedly tried to protest the terms of her firing by marching to the White House residence.

Following what was allegedly a dramatic exit, Manigault Newman bounced back from reportedly being fired and escorted off of White House grounds with a much-hyped return to TV. Manigault Newman appeared on the CBS reality show "Big Brother," where she shared her unfiltered feelings about her brief stint working for Trump.

"There's a lot of people that want to stab me in the back — kind of similar to the White House," she said last year on the broadcast. "The one thing I learned from politics is you have to learn how to watch your own back. And, in some cases, you have to watch your front, too."

Manigault Newman also said she was "haunted" by Trump's tweets "every single day."

She then published a memoir, "Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House," last August. The former West Wing aide alleged in her book that Trump is "actually a racist" who uttered the "N-word" and other slurs.

Manigault Newman last month accused her former boss of gender pay discrimination. In a declaration submitted with a proposed collection lawsuit against Trump, Manigault Newman said: "While I strongly suspected I was subjected to pay discrimination while with the Trump campaign, I have since seen expert analysis confirming this to be true. The numbers don't lie."

"After nearly 20 years inside the beltway, working for two White Houses and countless political campaigns, I've never witnessed such egregious violations as I did during my time under the leadership of Donald Trump and Mike Pence," she said at the time. "I am joining this effort for women and minorities to help level the playing field in the political arena between men and women. It is time for all of us to blow the whistle on the wrongdoings of this campaign."

Manigault Newman, who initially shot to fame as a contestant in the first season of Trump's TV reality show "The Apprentice" in 2004, served as the director of African-American outreach for Trump's 2016 campaign.

Shira Tarlo

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